Monday, February 13, 2012


Have you ever given a cat an enema?  Until yesterday evening doing so was not something I had ever contemplated.

I know I posted the details of Buddy crying for food but not eating much of what was offered him.  Along with all of this, my brother and I noticed only water no waste when he relieved himself over a two-day period.  Sunday became day number three.  Add to this the fact that now he was eating practically nothing, sleeping very deeply all day long and generally acting indifferent (not licking my nose, etc.)  Not a good sign.

The last time this happened, we didn't know for sure when he last eliminated.  Dr. Young ordered an X-ray to determine Buddy was bound up and the Vet Techs administered the enema.  Let me tell you, Buddy was not a happy camper afterwards.  He's only hissed at me once in the 10+ years we've been together and that was the first time I picked him up - intelligent cat that he is, Buddy knew right away that I didn't have a clue as to what I was doing and the hiss was to let me know he wasn't feeling secure.

When the Vet Tech handed him over to me he hissed again but I firmly believe that was because he was totally ticked off about the enema.  So you can understand when I say it was with some trepidation that we embarked on this episode of administering a feline enema.  Immediately, I pulled out Dr. Pitcairn's Book to read up on the best method for such an undertaking and kept my fingers crossed that we all would come out of this unscathed.  Then we assembled our supplies:

  • A bath towel
  • Wee Wee Pads
  • newspapers
  • one large syringe
  • a glass jar
  • measuring spoon (1 tablespoon size)
  • water
  • fresh lemon juice
  • olive oil (book calls for vegetable oil)

Sounds like a motley collection of items but everything was put to good use.  My brother lined the bottom of the bathtub with the wee wee pads and the newspapers while I measured two tablespoons of water into the glass jar and heated it up in the microwave.  The water is supposed to be pure and lukewarm but I had to use tap water so I heated it until it was hot then let it cool to lukewarm (you can test it on your wrist like you would a baby's bottle).  Once it was cool, I added a few drops of fresh squeezed lemon juice as the book indicated and filled the syringe.

Buddy loves to hang out in the bathtub anyway so getting him into the bathroom wasn't a problem.  Once inside we secured the door.  After standing him in the tub we wrapped a towel around his front part so we wouldn't get scratched just in case he became frightened.  I lubricated the syringe tip with olive oil (all I had around at the time) and inserted the tip of the syringe into his anus and slowly depressed the plunger taking care not to do this too quickly.  Dr. Pitcairn suggests taking 2 to 3 minutes to administer the entire enema.

We weren't sure if this would work.  Buddy squirmed a bit and cried a bit but once we were a third of the way done, he must have realized it was helping him or making him feel better and he settled down.  We finished administering the lemon water basically waiting for something to happen.  The book said it would help him void right away unless his body absorbed all the water in which case we would have to repeat the entire procedure in another 4 hours.

Nothing happened.  We let Buddy out of the tub and he headed for my hall closet (lined with wee wee pads and newspapers), past his litter box, to try to relieve himself.  As he circled around positioning himself we hoped for the best but he only urinated. Disappointed, we decided to keep an eye on him and keep our fingers crossed.  Within a few minutes, he did have a normal sized bowel movement.  Off he went to bed, totally exhausted, he fell asleep.

Today, he's definitely better.  He's dispensing licks and looking a bit for food but the improvement isn't dramatic in the food department - I thought he'd be ravenous but he isn't.  We might have to do this again (I hope not) but I'm going to keep a close eye on his bathroom habits and decide from there.

The bottom line is you can do this if you have to.  I would say it depends on your cat's temperament whether or not you try this yourself only you can judge.  The same procedure is used for dogs (up to 1 pint of water for a large dog never more than that).

P.S. My brother's weekend became unexpectedly busy effectively eating up any time he originally planned to use for blogging.  I'll just say he will guest-blog sometime in the future but without promising when that will be.  When it happens, it happens.

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